Back in March 2020, the whole world adopted a remote working model. Conference calls in pajamas with children or pets around were “business as usual”. However, with vaccines rolling out, more and more companies are thinking about plans to welcome employees back to the office.

“For all that we’ve been able to achieve while many of us have been separated, the truth is that there has been something essential missing from this past year: each other,” said Apple’s CEO Tim Cook while talking about Apple’s new policy on welcoming employees back in the office.

Although working from home might be beneficial practice (if done right), the office has its own set of advantages.

Here are six benefits of returning to the office that we found are most likely to help companies, startups, and their HR teams motivate employees to make the transition.

More productivity, less exhaustion

Sean Bisceglia, CEO of Curion – a consumer research company, says that the productivity rate of their employees was through the roof during remote working. Employees sent emails at 1 AM. But what is the dark side of this type of practice? Employee burnout.

While working from home makes the process of setting boundaries difficult, working from the office allows employees to be productive within a specific timeframe.

A 9 to 5 job permits workers to set goals for the day before they sign off and relax in the evening. Furthermore, it also creates synergy amongst co-workers.

A modern work culture cannot be restricted only to meeting rooms or cubicles. An employee’s potential and productivity can be nurtured even with an interaction at the coffee machine or working out at the gym inside the office. All these activities ultimately benefit employee engagement and, as a result – the company in the long run.

Effective brainstorming

Would you prefer to walk across the hallway to a co-worker’s desk to share an insightful idea or schedule a video call?

In research conducted by Wundamail – an email-based team management software, in April 2020, 56% of the 20,000 respondents said they would prefer cutting down the time spent on video calls. The statistics indicated that video conference fatigue started to catch up even in the first half of the year.

In comparison, working with your team members in person leads to more productive outcomes. The synergy is much stronger and more natural as compared to a virtual brainstorming session. Among the factors that help, for example, is your colleague’s body language which enables you to quickly understand his/her mood and get work done more efficiently. In addition, a face-to-face discussion allows transparency and provides a psychological motivation to keep exploring more creative ideas.

If we take Apple’s example again that we started with, the company believes strongly in creative collaboration. Their office design promotes employee interactions and boosts productivity. Similar to Apple, today, many companies invest significantly in creating a workplace where employees can relax, rejuvenate, and be more productive at the same time.

The right balance between work and fun

One cannot ignore the fact that friendly banter with colleagues about a soccer game is more interesting than asking them, “hello, can you hear me now?” a million times.

In the case of Google, they know how to have fun at work. From wall climbing to bowling, the tech giant has created a unique atmosphere in its office. Furthermore, they implemented their “150 Feet From Food” idea, which kept cafeterias, restaurants, and mini kitchens not more than 150 feet away from work areas. This provided their employees an additional level of comfort and joy at the office.

Companies should put in all efforts to create an inclusive environment that motivates the workers and creates a sense of ownership and an emotional attachment to their work.

According to Sigal Barsade, Professor of Management at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, “The exchange of emotion is a critical building block to friendship.”

Applying the same principle to the workplace, employees can approach their coworking peers easily if they feel low. The conversation can further lead to some exciting exchange of ideas. And this process is most likely to boost creativity and kill boredom.

Annie McKee, the author of How to Be Happy at Work, says, “Relationships and friendships at work are absolutely critical to happiness, engagement, and productivity in the workplace.”

Increasing overall happiness

Bonding with a favorite co-worker eases work-related stress. The fact that you can talk about your challenges at work with someone trustworthy is a great relief.

According to a LinkedIn study, 46% of working professionals stated that their work friends are essential to their overall happiness.

Employees who look at offices as more than a workplace will benefit in the long run. Of course, companies also have to help employees along the way by implementing, for example, activity-based working or by redesigning the office in a way that encourages productivity, collaboration, and teamwork using office neighborhoods.

It is proven that people are more creative and productive when they are part of a positive inner work circle. This leads to more positive emotions, stronger motivation of the employee, and reaffirming the positive perceptions towards the workplace.

A solution to loneliness

Workplace loneliness amongst employees is a common problem encountered by companies. Now with remote working, it has become even more difficult to counter this issue. Even though family members or pets surround employees, professional loneliness catches up sooner or later.

A lonely employee will hamper productivity by being less approachable. Furthermore, he or she is more likely to read negative cues quickly through a dark lens, according to Hakan Ozcelik, Professor of Management at California State University, Sacramento.

Returning to the office will allow organizations to help their employees cope with this situation. HR managers need to design and conduct activities that create a positive and nurturing environment for the whole team. At the same time, managers should actively build a dialogue with employees who work in a silo.

Adapting to a hybrid work culture

COVID-19 encouraged us to embrace flexibility as a natural ingredient of the office space of the future. Perhaps if it weren’t for the pandemic, companies wouldn’t have adopted the hybrid work model on such a large scale.

According to research conducted by Accenture in its 2021 work-study, 63% of high-growth companies have already embraced it.

Twitter, for example, is allowing its employees to take a call on when to return to the office. If a job role lets Twitter employees work from home indefinitely, the company will allow them to do that. Their objective is to build a flexible work culture that gives their staff freedom to determine how and where they can be productive.

In addition, according to Accenture, 83% of the respondents (9000+ employees across the globe) prefer a hybrid work model. The numbers suggest that employees want to strike a balance between personal and professional life.

If you’re curious to learn how to implement and manage hybrid work within your organization, check out this in-depth eBook on making the hybrid model sustainable.

In conclusion…

Returning to work post-pandemic will encourage HR to draw new policies that put employees at the core of the organization. Top leadership will have to keep aside the old approach to design their workplaces that fit the new working method. They will have to think out of the box to tap an employees’ potential. Also, they’ll have to make them feel comfortable at work. A fluid approach to getting the job done will motivate the teams and encourage further growth.

For employees, returning to work post-pandemic will be a new experience. Looking at this change with a positive outlook will allow them to transition quickly and boost their productivity. In conclusion, since man is a social animal, working alongside peers after a year-long hiatus will certainly reap new benefits and opportunities.

OfficeRnD Hybrid is a software platform that helps you make the return to the office easy and smooth both for you and your employees. We’d love to show you how! Learn more about what is hybrid work scheduling software or book your demo to see the platform in action.

We are team OfficeRnD! We build software to run hybrid workplaces, coworking spaces, and all kinds of flex spaces. We power flexible working! We love writing about everything that relates to the future of work, flexible work, and working from anywhere.